As part of its annual series on the highest-paid athletes, Fortune.com looks at Floyd Mayweather, Jr.: world champion boxer, fashion critic, and budding tech investor. So far, the only startup Mayweather has ever backed is Shots, a flailing selfie app financed by Justin Bieber and fluffed by TechCrunch.
The man they call "Money" Mayweather tossed a gym bag full of cash at his friend and former employee.
The friend refused. No no no, he said. That's not how you invest in a tech startup.
Isn't it, though?
Celebrities find someone they think "gets" it and hand over the money and/or the promotional power of their personal brand. According to Fortune, Mayweather and Shahidi met through RockLive, his iOS game development startup, which put out athlete-based apps like Mike Tyson's Main Event. RockLive "rebranded" when Shahidi "came up with the idea for Shots." (The idea being a selfie app.)
In 2012, after Shahidi had helped Mayweather set up his Twitter and Facebook accounts and guided him on social media, he told the fighter about Shots. Mayweather recalls, "I loved the idea. He told me, 'We've built it but need to release it at the right time.' Something gave me a good feeling about what he was saying and I felt like Shots was going to be something big."
Even with Bieber commanding his 52 million followers to download Shots—it's right there in his Twitter bio—Mayweather's good feeling hasn't panned out. But he still considers Shahidi his sherpa through all things tech:
But what is clear is that it is also Shahidi, more than just Shots, who Mayweather has put his faith in and who will guide his friend's future involvement in the space. "I own buildings, concert promotion companies, music publishing and other long term businesses, but Shots is my only tech investment," he says. "I want to fully understand a business before investing . . . I am going to talk to John and see what other cool non-competing startups might interest me. It's a great area to invest in and I trust John's knowledge of the industry to help me."
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